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RUGBY UNION: Welsh's six-try show puts Jersey in shade
London Welsh came on strong to record a comfortable 45-7 victory over Jersey at the Kassam Stadium.
Already sure of a play-off place, the Exiles ran in six tries as they maintained their push for top spot with a bonus-point win featuring two tries from flanker John Quill on his first start.
Jersey opened brightly and briefly led 7-3, but eventually succumbed to Welsh’s firepower.
Although a far from a perfect display, it did maintain the hosts’ momentum as they look ahead to bigger things.
The only real downside was flanker Mitch Lees limping off with a leg injury.
With relegation rivals Ealing beating Nottingham, Jersey’s survival hopes were further dented. Welsh welcomed back centre Hudson Tonga’uiha after a 16-month injury absence, while scrum half Tyson Keats made his first appearance after re-joining the club.
On-loan Bath lock Will Spencer came in for his debut.
Jersey made a late change, with captain Alex Rae dropping out due to a calf injury.
Ryan Hodson took over as skipper, with Dave Markham taking Rae’s place at lock and James Voss coming in on the bench.
Welsh drew first blood with a simple penalty from fly half Alex Davies, but then fou-nd themsel-ves on the back foot.
Jersey won a series of penalties from the restart and boldly turned down two kickable chances.
They were rewarded when centre Drew Locke latched on to fly half Aaron Penberthy’s precise grubber kick to touch down the opening try.
Penberthy converted and Welsh were slightly rattled.
However, on 18 minutes, the hosts hit back with a try from powerful wing Joe Ajuwa.
Receiving the ball on halfway, Ajuwa’s combination of a sidestep, power and pace proved irresistable and ended in Welsh’s opening try, converted by Davies.
The Exiles lacked control, but suddenly produced a slick move, started by captain Tom May and finished by Keats for an excellent second try.
Davies’s conversion made it 17-7 with 31 minutes gone.
Jersey threatened again through Jack Burroughs, but a knock-on from Joel Dudley curtailed the move.
An open first half ended with a surprisingly high penalty count of seven to each side, but Welsh’s Justin Burnell would have been the more frustrated of the coaches.
It was game over early in the second half after Welsh scored three tries in seven minutes.
The industrious Quill was driven over twice from powerful rolling mauls.
In between, lock Matt Corker took full back Toby L’Estrange’s off-load to score try No 4.
The build-up to Corker’s try had seen Jersey centre Mark McCrea yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on, while Davies converted each one.
Welsh managed a sixth try on 64 minutes when L’Estrange, now at fly half, cleverly arced his run to score in the corner, converting it himself for good measure.
Jersey were not helped by a yellow card to Locke on the recommendation of the assistant referee Clare Daniels.
Wing Nick Scott was held up on the right, but the home pressure was incessant.
Jersey, however, were not breached again and although well beaten, emerged with a fair amount of credit.
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